Food Drink.

Eat at, drink up

, Shell is

Forget about the sweet smell of romance, what about

the taste of oysters? Words: Jay Richardson

ysters. eh'.’ Nudge. nudge. wink. wink.

Somehow. I think we‘ve been here before.

Famed for their aphrodisiac aura. the mollusc morsels will again prompt wild-eyed couples the world over to splash out on Valentine‘s Day. consuming and consumed by the hope that passion pre-empts dessert.

If anyone needed reminding. the BBC‘s sapphic-not- graphic Tipping the Velvet re-acquainted us with the oyster metaphor for what the Victorians embarassedly termed ‘a woman‘s sex‘. And Casanova was said to chase down 50 a day with champagne. claiming that on the tongue there was only one thing more titillating. He never said what. but for oyster enthusiasts. he didn't have to.

Doctors say oysters are low in cholesterol and contain zinc. which is linked with improved male potency. So far. so sexy then. and all with the blessing of science. But what about the flavour"? Can this aqua-Viagra be as palatable to the taste-buds as to the amorous mind and other organs'.’ Resolving to find out. T/It’ [.isi sought samples from two ol‘ Scotland’s linest seafood suppliers. Loch Fyne ()ysters and McCallum’s ol‘ Troon.

Catering to. among others. London's Royal Opera House and Singapore's lavish. colonial-era Rallies llotel. Loch Fyne’s Rock ()ysters come wrapped in seaweed and. as the name suggests. grow on the loch‘s foreshore. Initially resistant to opening (a good sign) they tasted fresher than the others. our tasters thought. and ‘very

just north ol’ ()ban. liasier


Storing an oyster Fresh oysters should close tightly when tapped. If any do not. they should be discarded. They can be kept for four to five days in a refrigerator. stored cup Side down to prevent the liquor draining out. Opening an oyster Hold the oyster. cupped Side down. on a firm Surface With the pOinted hinge end faCing you you may find it helpful to place a folded tea—towel or cloth on top. Next. place the tip of an oyster knife blade at the hinge of the shell at an angle of approximately 45 degrees. Press hard while wiggling the knife until the tip has entered the shell.

salty' with a ‘i'eal taste of machisino. a primitive thing like I'm emerging from the sea’. Another said: ‘A bit overpowering.

but quite nice. like Once inside the shell, chewing raw liin cheeks.‘ make a Sweeping CUl McCu ] I u n] 5 are under the top lid tO lOOSGl‘t

the oyster and remove the top shell. Finally, loosen the meat from the bottom shell by gently running the knife under the flesh.

l'avourites of BBC chel Rick Stein. and their Pacil'ic ()ysters are cultivated in Loch Linnhe.

to open. they had a 'more rounded flavour than the first sample‘. and were ‘much meatier'. After careful deliberation. and further mulling over in the mouth. our testers unanimously declared that these were their preference.

TWelve rock oysters in a basket from Loch Fyne Oysters cost £9.90, or £42 with a bottle of Josepeh Perrier Cuvee Royale champagne. For Valentine’s Day deliveries, place order by 12 Feb. Next day UK delivery, £5 for Tue, Wed, Thu and Fri 14 Feb only, 01499 600264, Nelve pacific oysters from McCallum’s of Troon cost £4.20, including delivery, 0141 204 4456.

Side dishes

4?? 9W3, helping.“ QQWE

I AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL is raising funds on Thursday 6 February with the help of 20 restaurants across Scotland. All will donate a portion of their till to the global human- rights organisation, which hopes to raise £5,000. Celebrity chef Nick Nairn helped launch the campaign, called Eat Out for Amnesty, this year. Nairn’s Glasgow operation will be joined by Babbity Bowster, Creme de la Creme and Grassroots. Participating Edinburgh restaurants are Shahrazad, lggs, Sweet Melinda’s, and the Wok Bar.

I BLACK BO'S RESTAURANT and bar on Blackfriars Street, Edinburgh, has introduced meat to a menu that was strictly dedicated to vegetarian fare. Bo's Mandy Thomson says: ‘We're still a vegetarian restaurant but With meat and fish options' It's an opportunity for 80's to lure vegetarians With meat- eating friends who pres‘umably cannot survive a meal Without some flesh. Thomson says she has been told about groups who haven‘t booked because a meat coarse wasn't available. Chef Aibert Smith guarantees that food will be strictly separated in the kitchen and meat product will never be fetind in a vegetarian disn. Initially the restaurant has introduced Only fOur fish and meat courses.

I FINALLY, THE LIST notes the untimely death of restaurateur James Sankey just a few days before Christmas. A memorial service for Sankey, co-founder of Oloroso and before that a key part of Andrew Radford’s team at blue and Atrium, was held 22 January at Edinburgh’s St Patrick Church. Our sympathy goes to the Sankey family.

_~ THE LIST 107